July 3, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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The double meaning of “little” in the title of Fox’s busted sitcom pilot LITTLE IN COMMON is that the 3 couples at its center are brought together only because their respective kids all play on the same little league team.  That’s about it for cleverness, though, in this comedy that’s light on laughs. 

The show was written by Rob Thomas, creator of the beloved but low-rated Veronica Mars, and it’s a smooth piece of work that wouldn’t have embarrassed anyone had it gotten on the air.  (It’s been reported that the pilot is still alive for midseason consideration, although apparently there would be a fair amount of redevelopment involved.)  The pilot’s main couple is made up of Rob Corddry and Paula Marshall; they’ve moved from California to a suburban town in Texas so he can become the new middle school principal.  (There’s zero attempt to suggest any kind of Texas atmosphere–it’s just generic suburbs–and although one assumes that if the show had gone to series, we would have seen something of Corddry’s job, it’s just a conversation point in the pilot.)  They have a daughter who’s a demon soccer player and a son who’s never shown any interest in sports–until he sees the cute girl who’s playing shortstop for the local little league team.  That brings Corddry and Marshall in contact with Kevin Hart and Gabrielle Union, since Hart is the (fanatical, of course) coach of the team, as well as with Lombardo Boyar and Alanna Ubach, their next-door neighbors who are also parents of the cute shortstop.   At first Corddry and Marshall don’t get along with the other couples, but by the end of the pilot, they’re all becoming friends; you know the drill.
Little In Common could have shared an hour with Raising Hope on FOX, but in comparison with that show it lacks any distinctiveness.  The couples are all equally bland (big laughs are supposed to come from Corddry’s character getting back spasms at inconvenient moments; Boyar makes beignets dosed with tequila), and so is the storyline–there’s a disastrously unfunny bit in the 3rd act where Corddry and Marshall are briefly mistaken for racists.  The cast is attractive and they play together reasonably well, but without any ensemble sparks; the strongest impression comes from Fred Dwyer, channeling Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino as a cranky older neighbor.  As directed by Adam Bernstein, who’s directed a lot of single-camera cable shows, the overall feel is easygoing if impersonal.  
There’s nothing horribly wrong with Little In Common, which actually makes it a challenge to redevelop; the show just isn’t particularly interesting or funny.  (If I were playing FOX creative chief–and I guess I am–I’d say Family Album has more possibilities; see my review here.)   Little In Common is a comfortable half-hour that’s got all the impact of Muzak.
The Sked’s Verdict:  The Network Was Right
Read more about TV’s new shows at THE SKED PILOT REPORT.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."